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'Never a Fund-Raiser' in 20 Years : Multifaith Council Marks Anniversary

March 25, 1989

As the multifaith Interreligious Council of Southern California celebrated 20 years of behind-the-scenes existence this month, a founder urged that it remain one of the few religious entities that has "never had a fund-raiser."

Roman Catholic Msgr. Royale M. Vadakin of Los Angeles told his Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Bahai, Sikh and fellow Christian colleagues that he gets frightened when their conversations turn to hiring staff, keeping an office and starting a newsletter.

"You cannot institutionalize trust and friendship," Vadakin said.

The council plays its most significant service as "a conduit which brings immediate and strongly personal contacts between a wide spectrum of the world's great religions (that are) present in substantial communities in Los Angeles."

The contact serves well for both "times of celebration . . . (and) in times of anguish and conflict," said Vadakin, who directs the ecumenical and interfaith relations for the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese.

More than 130 people attended the group's recent 20th anniversary dinner at the Lord Venkateswara Hindu Temple near Malibu Canyon. The council's president is the Rev. Fred Register, the senior minister of United Church of Christ congregations in Southern California.

The last religious body to join the council was the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon), which affiliated in 1987.

The council lost one of its early members when the Los Angeles Buddhist Church Federation, a close-knit group of Japanese temples, withdrew last year.

"I myself felt it was a great loss that we quit," said the Rev. Roy Kokuzo, senior minister of the Long Beach Buddhist Church, who represented the federation at the council's monthly meetings. The federation left for a combination of reasons, partly because the Buddhist Sangha Council of Southern California, which embraces many ethnic and sectarian branches, is also a member, according to Kokuzo.

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